Submitted August 23, 2016.
County Circuit Court 14AB0137C1 Stephen P. Forte, Judge.
G. Lannet, Chief Defender, Criminal Appellate Section, and
Matthew Blythe, Deputy Public Defender, Office of Public
Defense Services, filed the brief for appellant.
F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, Paul L. Smith, Deputy
Solicitor General, and Nani Apo, Assistant Attorney General,
filed the brief for respondent.
DeHoog, Presiding Judge, and Shorr, Judge, and Aoyagi, Judge.
Summary: Defendant appeals a punitive contempt judgment based
on a finding that he violated the terms of a restraining
order. He assigns error to the trial court denying his motion
for judgment of acquittal and subsequently finding him in
contempt. The court ordered defendant to abide by the terms
of the restraining order but imposed no sanctions. Defendant
argues that his appeal is not moot, because, first, the
judgment of contempt alone carries significant social stigma,
and, second, the judgment could have adverse legal
consequences. Held: Defendant's appeal is moot.
First, defendant did not identify how a contempt judgment
that imposes no sanctions and only mandates compliance with a
preexisting court order carries sufficient social stigma to
prevent an appeal from being moot. Second, the mere
possibility that the contempt judgment might in the future
have adverse legal consequences for defendant is likewise
insufficient to prevent the appeal from being moot.
Or.App. 119] SHORR, J.
appeals a judgment of punitive contempt based on a finding
that he violated the terms of a restraining order prohibiting
him from, among other things, "knowingly be[ing] or
stay[ing] within 500 feet" of his ex-girlfriend. We
conclude that defendant's appeal is moot. Therefore, we
was charged with contempt for failing to promptly comply with
the terms of the restraining order against him. During the
contempt proceeding, defendant moved for a judgment of
acquittal, which the trial court denied. The court later
found defendant in contempt and entered a judgment against
him. Although it was authorized to impose fines, community
service, or jail time as a punitive sanction under ORS
33.105, the court chose not to impose any sanctions. Instead,
after holding defendant in contempt, the court explained to
defendant that "the court's not going to impose any
consequence as a result of this." The court then told
defendant that "the restraining order continues in
place. * * * You need to comply with that restraining
order." The only condition listed on the General
Judgment of Contempt entered by the court reflected that
statement, in that it required defendant only to
"[a]bide by any active restraining order."
appeal, defendant argues that the trial court erred when it
denied his motion for judgment of acquittal and subsequently
entered a punitive contempt judgment against him. The state
argues that defendant's appeal is moot. Specifically, the
state asserts that defendant did not suffer any adverse
collateral consequences from the judgment of contempt because
the court did not impose any sanctions on defendant; rather,
the court only ordered defendant to comply with the existing
restraining order, which he had a preexisting obligation to
do. Defendant argues that an appeal from a judgment of
punitive contempt is not moot, regardless of whether the
court imposes sanctions on the defendant, because
"punitive contempt proceedings carry significant social
stigma." In addition, defendant argues that his appeal
is not moot because the contempt judgment could have adverse
legal consequences for him; specifically, [289 Or.App. 120]
if he were found in contempt for violating the restraining
order a second time, he could simultaneously be held
responsible for violating the contempt judgment that ordered
him to comply with the restraining order. The state responds
that that "mere possibility" is insufficient to
prevent defendant's appeal from being moot.
is moot if "resolving the merits of a claim will have no
practical effect on the rights of the parties."
State v. Langford, 260 Or.App. 61, 66, 317 P.3d 905
(2013). "Even if the main issue in controversy has been
resolved, collateral consequences may prevent the
controversy from being moot under some circumstances."
State v. Hauskins, 251 Or.App. 34, 36, 281 P.3d 669
(2012) (emphasis in original). For example, when a defendant
challenges a punitive sanction for contempt, the sanction
having been served does not necessarily render the appeal
moot because, in at least some instances, "a punitive
contempt sanction carries a collateral consequence of a
stigma analogous to a criminal conviction."
Langford, 260 Or.App. at 67 (internal quotation
addressed mootness in the punitive contempt context a number
of times in the past. In State ex rel State of Oregon v.
Hawash, 230 Or.App. 427, 215 P.3d 124 (2009), we held
that an appeal from a judgment of contempt for failure to pay
court-ordered child support was moot. There, as part of the
contempt judgment, the trial court imposed bench probation as
a sanction. That probation had expired by the time the appeal
reached us. We explained that "[a]ppellant has not
identified any collateral consequences that flow from the
judgment of contempt, and we are aware of none." 230
Or.App. at 428.
subsequent case, Hauskins, we reached a different
conclusion than in Hawash. In Hauskins, the
defendant was sentenced to confinement in the county jail for
180 days as a punitive sanction for violating his probation.
The state argued that the appeal was moot because the
defendant had been released from confinement. We concluded
that, "although punitive contempt is not a 'crime,
' a judgment imposing a punitive sanction of confinement
for contempt * * * is sufficiently analogous to a criminal
conviction [289 Or.App. 121] that it carries a collateral
consequence of a stigma that is analogous to a criminal
conviction." 251 Or.App. at 38-39. Due to that stigma,
when a ...